Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wheelchair Gifting

Here are the wheelchairs lined up before the ceremony.
On Wednesday, we went to Ayutthaya with the Goodsons, the humanitarian couple in our mission, the Mannings who are the public affairs representatives, Wisan who represented the district presidency of the Church, and Mr. Watson, the Thai Rotary humanitarian rep, to give away wheelchairs.

LDS Charities paid for 40 new wheelchairs and the Rotary Club did the legwork of finding citizens of Ayutthaya who needed them. The Bangkok Rotary Club and LDS Charities have worked together for at least a decade helping people in need.

 The wheelchair recipients came an hour early before the ceremony and patiently waited for the fun to begin.

The first picture is of the 40 wheelchairs lined up before the ceremony.

This 2nd picture is of an 81-year-old man. You should have seen him zip away on his hand operated (pump) tricycle.

I expected to see happy faces as the people sat in their new chairs, but some looked scared, others bewildered, and I realized a lot of them were too handicapped to be able to react with even a smile. Their families looked happy, though. My heart went out to all of them.

This 4-year-old boy cried when his grandmother put him in his chair. He was so used to being held by his family, that sitting alone scared him. But he left in the chair and his grandmother was the one with the big smile.

Our four full-time elders also attended--Elders Trabing, Unsworth, Engle, and Chambers. Since the MC needed to entertain the audience for the hour they waited, she interviewed all four elders. The crowd applauded as if they were celebrities. The elders were helpful in translating for us, talking with the attendees, and they stayed until the last wheelchair rode away--even after we had to head back to Bangkok. They handed out all their English class card/invitations. What great exposure for the Church.

This last picture is of our MC-- who did a great job--and a gentleman in his new wheelchair. He's holding one of the gift bags the Rotary Club put together for each recipient.

 Since Elder Sowards and I are assigned to Ayutthaya, we were invited. This was the first time I'd been on the ceremony side of humanitarian service, and found it very heartwarming. Also, thank you to the Rotary Club for being so efficient and generous.

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